The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) excellent reputation precedes it in state, federal, and international law enforcement, and in intelligence communities. The reputation has been built on a multi-faceted foundation that relies in no small measure on its ability to spark the work ethic of its employees, exploit technology, and harness the liaison relations it has established with its counterparts. After its creation in 1908, the FBI experienced unprecedented growth in all areas of the organization. This growth included scope of duties, number of employees, and evolving threats to the Constitution that it was created to protect. The FBI consistently met all the myriad of challenges levied upon it with a high degree of investigative proficiency and integrity. Despite these accomplishments, the organization’s leadership recently has sustained a series of unsatisfactory evaluations from several key sectors. Of particular note are Congress, the American people, and its stakeholders, the FBI’s employees. Through the benefit of hindsight, the actions of FBI leadership in response to various emergent events have been deemed lackluster. Following the attacks of 9/11, the FBI utilized the balanced scorecard (BSC) concept to transform. Specifically, its transformation was from a solely law enforcement organization to a domestic intelligence powerhouse after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The FBI can utilize the BSC again and take the opportunity to transform its leadership training program to provide individuals the foundation from which to make sound decisions.
This thesis examines the critiques that have been offered in the appraisal of FBI leadership in the agent ranks. It compares and contrasts the FBI special agent training program with the leadership development of several key contemporaries in the investigative and law enforcement realms. It also proposes a new leadership training curriculum to best equip those in current and future positions of leadership. The thesis employees the methodology of the BSC first proposed in 1992 by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. In their research, Kaplan and Norton advocated for the use of four perspectives (financial, customer, internal process, and organizational capacity) to determine if an organization was functioning in balance. The FBI is reviewed through the optic of these four perspectives. A fifth perspective for stakeholders has been added to the framework. The FBI’s stakeholders are its employees. Their vitality and flow play a crucial and integral part in the FBI’s balance as an organization. Arguably, the stakeholders bear the first and foremost brunt of average leadership. The proposed leadership training curriculum would have an immediate impact on the stakeholders, as well as ripple effects on the other four perspectives. This thesis only focuses on leadership within the special agent ranks. It will demonstrate that the FBI’s only mandatory training curriculum for its agents, the new agent trainee program at the FBI Academy, does not provide enough support and knowledge for individuals to function as leaders. While the thesis is designed specifically for the agents, the BSC concept can be utilized to develop similar training programs for the professional support and intelligence career employees. The FBI’s current training program front-loads almost all-comprehensive training for agents into the first few months of an agent’s career. Once the agent trainee graduates from the FBI Academy, mandated leadership development courses are lacking, unlike in other organizations, such as the military, state police departments, and the corrections departments. Through rigorous use of the BSC, this thesis argues that the FBI should evolve to a career-long education optic for its leadership ranks and proposes a curriculum framework to build the education